Conclusions

Bioenergy is renewable energy derived from recently living biological material.  Bioenergy is a form of renewable energy because the energy contained in biomass is energy from the sun captured through natural processes of photosynthesis, and so long as the quantity of biomass used is equal to or less than the amount that can be regrown it is potentially renewable indefinitely.  Bioenergy includes power and fuels derived from biomass.  The majority of biomass for bioenergy comes from three sources: forests, agriculture, and waste.   To make use of the energy available in biomass it is necessary to utilize technology to either release the energy directly, as in burning of biomass materials for heat, or to transform it into other forms such as solid or liquid fuel. Interest in bioenergy is increasing in response to concerns about energy security, energy  independence, and environmental and climate impacts associated with use of non-renewable energy resources.  Policy, government programs and sponsored research are major drivers of bioenergy development.  As a set of goals, sustainability variably describes desired conditions of the environment, and the ability of humans to receive benefits directly and indirectly from the environment, in the present as well as the future.  Sustainability of bioenergy will depend on the goals defined (and when and where and by whom those goals are defined), what actions and behaviors people are willing and able to adopt to support those goals, and the ability of science to assist human knowledge of connections between the many aspects of bioenergy and sustainability goals.

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